SOUNDTRACK: RICHARD THOMPSON-Sweet Warrior (2007).
I recently posted a bunch of reviews of RTs back catalog, and here’s his latest release. I almost feel like it’s a waste of time for me to review this because, what can I say? It’s great. Strong songs from start to finish. Catchy rockers, bitter ballads, everything is fabulous. My only negative mark is that the third song, a slow ballad, is really long, about 7 minutes, and there’s nothing remarkable about it to justify that length. It’s a pretty enough song, but could have a few minutes lopped off of it. Otherwise, the album is great.
During his earlier releases, he seemed to have a hard time finding producers who could really capture a sound that suited him. I’d say his last two or three releases, including this one, have found him with excellent production values. They really capture a full sound of RT’s guitar and his vocals are always strong in the mix. This is a great place to start for getting into the RT catalog, and no doubt, half of these songs will become classics. Just looking at the track list, I see these outstanding songs:
Needle and Thread, Mr Stupid, Dad’s Gonna Kill Me, Poppy-Red, Bad Monkey, Too Late to Come Fishing, Sneaky Boy, Johnny’s Far Away, and Guns are the Tongues.
Stellar collection again, RT.
[READ: August 30, 2007] Blue Monday Vol. 3: Inbetween Days
I’ve been a fan of Blue Monday for ages. I’ve mentioned many times my origin story of getting into comics (Sandman>Bone>Strangers in Paradise>Oni Press), and Blue Monday was one of the first “indie” comics that I fell in love with. The style is somewhat manga looking, but it is in no way a manga strip. It concerns the cool (to me, but not the rest of the school, one assumes) kids of a California high school in the 1990s. There are various high school goings-on, but really the focus of the comic is on the kids and their relationships with each other. The dialog is raunchy and hilarious. And for me, the best part is the things that the kids love. They love Britpop, they love mod culture, and, if they were in my high school I would have been intimidated to hang with them because they were too cool for me.
Also, Clover, one of the main characters comes from an Irish clan, and the Irish invectives fly free and loose. Huzzah! I also love that she introduced me to the idea of Soundtracks. At various scenes in her stories she lists what music is appropriate to the scene, as if it were a movie. It is always casually thrown in there, without being obvious. I basically stole this idea for my posts, although my soundtracks are usually completely unrelated, and they are not subtle at all. Another fun subtle thing is her inclusion of comments in the margins of her pages. Always good for an extra laugh.
Clugston-Major taught me the joy of indie comics, where the author really has control to do what she wants.
I read all of the single issues of Blue Monday when they came out, and I’ve been collecting the trades paperbacks because there’s always extra stuff in them, including preliminary sketches and silly in-jokes that are still funny. Each trade is a story arc with some extra short pieces thrown in. Each story arc is great and funny. I have nothing specific to say about this arc except that I loved it again on the second time through. If you want to get into comics, but don’t want superheroes, go Blue Monday. And that’s how I feel.